“Wakatoshi-kun, what do you think of the word ‘monster’?”
The two friends are lying side by side in Ushijima’s tiny bottom bunk bed. Despite being crammed like sardines, neither of them minds it, basking in each other’s warmth and touch.
“Monster?” Ushijima turns to look at Tendou.
Throughout the three years of their friendship, he heard whispers from people calling a certain middle blocker a ‘monster.’ Ushijima has just assumed they were referring to Tendou’s volleyball abilities, which sometimes appear almost supernatural to an outsider. He knows that his friend’s blocking skills are due to how he is able to spot tells in a split-second, tracking his opponents carefully throughout the whole match, and pick the choice that has the highest chance of success for their team. Tendou’s skills come from hard work and passion, not because he is some unworldly creature.
Ushijima knows what others think of his friend’s appearance- eyes too large for his face, a weird upturn to his mouth, the red hair that seems too bright to be natural, his lanky body that is able to contort into uncomfortable shapes.
Ushijima thinks that Tendou’s eyes are expressive, his smile charming, the red hair reminds him of autumn leaves, and enjoys the press of the lean form against his own.
“I think it’s a compliment, Satori. To describe something so special that they have no other better way of explaining it.”
The afternoon sun is shining on them, soft warm light illuminating red and olive hair. Tendou’s hair is loose from the usual style, messy and soft and splayed across the pillow. As Ushijima reaches out to run a hand through it, he idly thinks that it looks like a fiery halo.
Tendou smiles, the ever-present winkles on the corner of his eyes creasing even further. “In that case, you’re a monster, Toshi.”
“I’m glad you see me like that. You’re a monster too, Satori.”
“Oh Wakatoshi-kun, so sweet- We can be each other’s monster, my monster boy!”